All This Talk of Love

All This Talk of Love

by Christopher Castellani

Arlene Almas (07/04/13): The story of the Grasso family is one that will grab you and take hold of your heart. Having left the family nest, Frankie is a grad student in Boston writing his dissertation while carrying on an affair with his adviser. His parents, Antonio and Maddalena, immigrated to the United States from Italy, and opened a restaurant that became a huge success and holds a central place in the family’s life. His older sister Prima is very attached to her husband and four sons as well as her parents; she also has strong opinions and spares no energy in trying to make the others conform to them. No one in the family talks to Frankie about Tony, the oldest sibling, who died as a teenager; Antonio, Maddalena, and Prima guard his memory very closely. Now a conflict arises: Prima plans a family visit to her parent’s home village in Italy, but Maddalena refuses to go. Prima insists, Maddalena refuses, and the whole family is drawn into this dilemma. As the narrative progresses, we learn all about the lives of the characters, in the past and present, as the author creates a rich and emotionally complete picture of each one. The Grassos are loving, argumentative, loyal, flawed – everything a family can be - and I loved reading their story.
Rating: *****

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